Thanksgiving250.jpgMost school children would probably say that Thanksgiving dates back to the Pilgrims at Plymouth as early as 1621. By the late 1660’s, it had become traditional to hold a harvest festival in New England.

President George Washington declared the first nation-wide thanksgiving in 1789 “as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favours of Almighty God.”

One hundred fifty years ago during the Civil War, in October, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the first national day of Thanksgiving.

William Seward, Lincoln’s secretary of state, drafted the proclamation: “No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God…they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People.”

Even though the country was in the middle of the costly Civil War, the people of America started an enduring tradition to give thanks. In 1941, Congress determined that Thanksgiving will be celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November.



November 25, 2013

My silly thankful list. I’m thankful for diet cherry coke, post it notes, cool iPhone apps, scarves to wrap around my neck on cold days, homemade pimento cheese, good cheap Walmart Pinot Grigio, an SUV to haul all my stuff around, texting, soft Soma pajamas, DVR’s, cast iron skillets, decaf coffee, Ammonium Lactate lotion, a husband that can do almost anything I ask him to do, boots, pedicures, Paypal, crockpots, my yard man, Listerine, Dropbox, and being Cici to my two favorite little people!

Happy Thanksgiving Y’all!


Refinance to Remove a Person

November 19, 2013

refinance 250.jpgMost people are familiar with the various reasons a homeowner refinances their home which generally result in two major benefits: saving interest and building equity.

There is however another reason to refinance which may not be as common which is to remove a person from the loan. In the case of a divorce, when one party wants to keep the home and the other party wants their equity out of the home, it is possible for the remaining party to refinance the home. If the equity is sufficient to justify it and the remaining owner can qualify for the new loan, the refinance can provide the proceeds to buy out the other spouse.

Refinancing to remove a person from the loan could also involve a situation where two or more heirs jointly own a property and have differing opinions on when to sell. The same situation could apply to a rental property with multiple owners and the refinance would provide a way to buy out a partner.

Sometimes, it’s not about taking cash out of the home to buy out the other party. If a person’s name is on the mortgage, they’re responsible if it goes to default. One party may be willing to deed the home to the other party but it doesn’t necessarily relieve them of the liability of the mortgage they originated.

Many times, once a person has made their mind to move on, they’ll take the fastest and easiest way out. Removing a person from the deed or a mortgage is a reason to consider obtaining legal advice to protect your interests. Refinance Analysis calculator.

Reasons to Refinance

1. Lower the rate
2. Shorten the term
3. Take cash out of the equity
4. Combine loans
5. Remove a person from a loan

50 Birthdays

November 13, 2013

Tomorrow I turn 50. As I’ve neared this momentous event in my life journey I’ve discovered some things about myself and had few regrets. Here are 50 thoughts to share….

1. I’m thankful for my family of 2 brothers, a sister and loving parents.
2. I had a wonderful childhood growing up in a small farming town which always seemed to smell of peanuts.
3. I treasure teachers that cared about me and taught me the basic skills that have brought me further than most.
4. I have fond memories of great friends I grew up with that I genuinely love and appreciate more as an adult.
5. I went to Europe at age 16 and wish I had had a better appreciation of such an opportunity.
6. I’m thankful for all the jobs I have had over the years that have shaped my ability to succeed in my current and last career as a REALTOR®
7. I so appreciate grandparents that loved me unconditionally and wish they were still here.
8. I’m really thankful for a sister that has been a true inspiration to me in more ways than she will ever know.
9. So happy I had a dad that loved me so much and instilled in me a work ethic that knows no bounds.
10. Sad for classmates that have left this world for one reason or another. I often wonder where they would be today had they lived.
11. Stuff is just stuff.
12. Raising kids is just about the hardest thing in the whole world because you don’t ever feel like you’re done raising them.
13. Grandchildren are awesome!
14. In-laws grow on you over the years.
15. Extended family becomes more important as I age.
16. Never stop making new friends.
17. I love to cook.
18. I really love helping those that truly need help.
19. I’m so incredibly grateful for being raised a Christian, having Christian parents and love my church.
20. I’m thankful for the experience of losing old friends and what I learned by not having them in my life anymore.
21. I love that I’ve had one best friend my whole life. She is truly my sister.
22. My husband has been more tolerant of me that I deserved and I love him for staying with me all these years.
23. I am so blessed to live in America.
24. Thankful that I’ve traveled to many places and pray I will be able to see more.
25. I love my mother and appreciate her daily phone calls.
26. I’m so thankful for a daughter-in-law that truly loves my son and is the best mother to my grandchildren that I could ever imagine.
27. I’ve had great neighbors over the years.
28. My REALTOR® profession has afforded me some of the best friends I can’t imagine my life without.
29. I love AUBURN football!
30. I wish some of my family members understood the importance of family.
31. There’s nothing better than rocking babies.
32. I love my “Bears”. (Only certain people will understand this.)
33. Shellman, GA is a great place to grow up.
34. I can’t decide if the beach or the mountains is the most peaceful place on earth.
35. I am so thankful for God’s grace and mercy.
36. My 40’s have been my best decade so far.
37. Although I don’t mind getting older, I didn’t appreciate the AARP membership card in the mail last week.
38. I think it’s pretty cool that my dad went to West Point Academy.
39. My daughter is pretty cool and smart.
40. My son is a great dad and provider for his family and I’m so proud of him.
41. I don’t like decorating for holidays.
42. My husband rubs my feet and never complains.
43. It’s awesome to sell a home to someone that has never owned one.
44. My husband and I have some friends that are unbelievably the cream of the crop!
45. When my family hurts, it breaks my heart.
46. I’ve learned some hard lessons along the way, glad I learned from them and very sorry for those I hurt.
47. I wish I could take back some words I have said to others. There is true meaning to “words hit harder than a fist”.
48. Listening is much more important than talking.
49. I’m looking forward to more birthdays.
50. God is good…… All the time.

Who’s Paying Your Mortgage?

November 12, 2013

who is paying your mortgageAs a homeowner, you obviously pay for your mortgage but as an investor, your tenant does. Equity build-up is a significant benefit of mortgaged rental property. As the investor collects rent and pays expenses, the principal amount of the loan is reduced which increases the equity in the property. Over time, the tenant pays for the property to the benefit of the investor.

Equity build-up occurs with normal amortization as the loan is paid down. It can be accelerated by making additional contributions to the principal each month along with the normal payment. Some investors consider this a good use of the cash flows because interest rates on savings accounts and certificates of deposits are much lower than their mortgage rate.

In the example below, is a hypothetical rental with a purchase price of $125,000 with 80% loan-to-value mortgage at 4.5% for 30 years compared to a 3.5% for 15 years. The acquisition costs were estimated at $3,000, the monthly rent is estimated at $1,250 and $4,800 for operating expenses.

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Notice that both properties have a positive cash flow before tax. The cash on cash return is the revenue less expenses including debt service divided by the initial investment to acquire the property. The 15 year mortgage will obviously have a smaller cash flow and lower cash on cash but the equity build-up is significantly higher.

If the goal of the investor is to pay off the property to provide the highest possible cash flow at a later date, a shorter term mortgage with a lower interest rate will help them achieve that. A simple definition of an investment is to put away today so you’ll have more tomorrow. Sacrificing cash flow now, during an investor’s earning years, is a reasonable expectation to provide more cash flow in the future when it might be needed more.

Contact me if you’d like to explore rental property opportunities.

Thanks for Noticing

November 11, 2013

As I am flying home from San Francisco and typing my thoughts for a later post, I am always struck by the beauty of this country. I will never NOT have a sense of awe when having an opportunity to see this incredible home of mine…… America. Listening to Rascal Flatts singing Mayberry. Mountains, desert, lakes, teeny tiny cars driving along the millions of miles of highway, forests, and the patchwork of fields. I love this country.

2013-11-10 10.44.00

I just spent four days in California at the CRS (Certified Residential Specialists) conference in conjunction with the National Association or REALTORS® annual convention. What an awesome group of professionals at the top of their game. I wanted that when I began my career in real estate 12 years ago. Not to be a leader of sorts or even in the spotlight. I wanted to be the best I could be. For someone with only a high school education, married at 16, two children by the age of 21, and now going on 34 years of marriage to the same incredible guy, I still want more. I don’t want to ever stop growing and learning. Thanks to the mentors and leaders I’ve admired along the way and learned from and continue to inspired by. You may not know who you are but I kinda like that you may not know. It could have been the cup of coffee you bought me and simply had a conversation with or perhaps made something happen for me that I didn’t realize until years later.

I’ve just read Andy Andrews book, The Noticer. It’s about wisdom and how to recognize the art of listening to your dialect to others. Not the literal dialect of a voice, but the way we communicate. We speak the same language but our dialect or the way we communicate is so important. When we stop communicating in the dialect that the other person is used to, they start hearing your message differently which can harm relationships. Realizing those influential people in my life and their way of communicating with me now takes on a whole new perspective. Thanks for noticing me.

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